Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Improving My Running In 30 Days - Day 10

My running seems to be improving, however my blogging about improving my running hasn't been so great. So apologies for not getting a new post up for a few days, but my energy levels have taken a bit of a slump. I'm not sure whether it's the increased training, the reduction in calories or just running out of time, but I've taken a few days off work to try and get on top of it..

Climbing The Mourne Mountains
Mountain climbing in Northern Ireland's glorious sunshine. My face says it all.

So here's what's been happening over the past few days..  Since my last post I've ran a faster 5K, lost some more weight, climbed half a mountain and very nearly stayed away from beer and chocolate. I've also taken my dog Sheldon for quite a few short walks and runs too..

Recovery Run In Scarva Park
Sheldon out for a recovery run at Scarva Park

Improving My 5K Time

On Saturday I went to my usual 5K Parkrun race at Citypark Parkrun in Craigavon. The night before I had a bit of a beer lapse, and drank four beers after staying sober since the start of the month. I was trying to give up alcohol for the full month, but I guess I have to be honest and admit I have failed.

I'm not sure what the reason for drinking them was, maybe just a reward at the end of the week, but the 30 days of no alcohol is over.

However, the main reason for doing it was to break the habit of having a few drinks most evenings, so I suppose I have succeeded in that respect. I'm not going to beat myself up over it, just move on and try to stay away from the booze for the rest of the month. Even if I have a few more slips, I definitely think I've turned a corner. Moderation is the key, right?

Carb loading for Saturday's Parkrun
Carb loading for Saturday's Parkrun

I cooked myself some pasta with salmon the night before, which I had two helpings of. You can see from the picture that they're not small portions, so my carb loading was not lacking before the race. All perfect, except for the fact that it was loaded with chilies, I was slightly drunk and I stayed up after 1am. Probably not the best pre race preparations, but if you're a regular reader, you should expect nothing less from me by now..

A few weeks ago I ran the 5K run with Sheldon, but as it was lashing down with rain today, I thought he'd be better sitting this one out. We did get a recovery run afterwards, although I think he was huffing with me for not letting him him race.

Scarva Park
Actually breaking the law here in Scarva Park... There's a big no dog sign in the children's area..

My race was an improvement, I felt stronger and the fact that I'd lost 3 lbs in a week must have helped. I finished 28th place with a time of 21 minutes 39 seconds, which was nearly a minute quicker than last week. My brother and his two year old beat me by one place, so I guess that's next week's challenge. (He pushes her in her buggy for 3 miles, and then lets her run the last 0.12 miles... and she still beats me..)

Sheldon and Scarlett during some game they devised

We had a reunion and post run chat that evening, where Scarlett and Sheldon amused themselves while we got dinner ready. It was homemade chicken pie and another night with zero alcohol. It was good to spend a few hours with my brother's family, and Sheldon seems to love it there. Scarlett and him are so funny to watch together. Every time I say her name in front of him, his ears pick up..

Mountain Climbing

Last week my friend Aaron had text me to see if I fancied meeting up for a few pints, but after telling him I was going sober for the month we decided to climb a mountain instead. Unfortunately the weather was horrendous, but we still made an attempt.

Mourne Mountains
After ten minutes of walking and we are already soaked

We set off with another friend (also called James (excellent name choice)) to try and tackle Northern Ireland's highest peak, Slieve Donard. After an hour of climbing we had to turn back, as the weather started to get really bad the higher we went. The wind and rain made it impossible to even look up to see where we were going. The weather forecast had predicted light showers, but I think they got it wrong.

Mourne Mountains in the rain
Wet, wet, wet. 

I tried to take as many pictures as I could, but the rain was getting into my phone, so my photographs were pretty limited. We got about half way up, before turning around and taking a short coffee break under the cover of a big boulder.

Normally you can see the sea from this point, with the Isle Of Man in the distance. Today we got to see about ten feet in front of us.

Mourne Mountains
Coffee has never tasted so good... 

We were absolutely soaked by the time we got back down, but it was still a fun day out, and a better alternative to drinking beer in a pub. We plan to try it again next weekend, so fingers crossed that the weather improves slightly.

The view from the top made it all worthwhile. 

While it's not running, mountain climbing is a great way of building strength in the legs. A few more weeks of doing this, and any hill I come across during a race shouldn't be a problem. What's a small incline when you've just conquered a mountain the week before?

So now that I've got a few days off work, I'm going to keep running, try to stay off the booze, start doing my strength exercises and stretches, and more importantly.... Start blogging again.


What training do you add during the Winter months? Do you have mountains near you that you can climb? Have you ever tried to give something up for a month?


  1. You're so lucky to have ParkRun in your city! I live in the US, but when I traveled to Europe this past spring I got to join in Copenhagen's ParkRun. It was so nice and I love how you can track your time and see improvement. Great job taking so much time off your result..that's really impressive! In January I'm going to try to stay off alcohol for the month and eliminate sugar..we'll see how that goes :)

  2. I'd love to visit Copenhagen, it looks like an amazing city... It's written in my shortlist of half/ full marathons I want to run at some point.. Good luck with the sugar and alcohol...it's not easy lol

  3. Congrats on that 5k time! I'm the queen of getting drunk the night before a race. Up until this September, my marathon PR of 3:12 was made the night after a wedding feast of Indian food and red wine. I threw up, fell asleep in my dress and then woke up and ran a marathon. I'm probably not the best example...

    1. Awesome story lol, laughing my head off at that.. Although 3.12 after all that is nothing short of amazing... Yeah, getting drunk is like a last minute carb and fluid rush. Or something.


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